SCHENECTADY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Schenectady City Council members have announced their anti-litter action plan for the city. The plan is called “It Starts With Me,” and details how the city will take action against littering, as well as their main areas of focus.

The action plan outlines litter education and outreach, infrastructure, partnerships, litter laws and enforcement. The plan sets in motion a goal to reduce the amount of litter in Schenectady by 50% within the next five years. To measure the outcomes, the city will put out litter surveys at multiple locations throughout the city every year, for the next five years.

The city plans to invest in more waste and recycling bins. Research has shown the proximity to waste receptacles will help to determine if someone will litter or not. The city also plans on investing in different litter vacuums, both for individuals and litter vacuum trucks. Plans to update and evaluate littering and illegal dumping fines will be proposed, which could result in higher conviction rates and more litterers being held accountable.

The city is also planning to work with the city courts to discuss the possibility of creating “environmental court” days. Environmental courts are a type of court that handle cases related to a violation of environmental laws only, allowing for judges to become specialized environmental laws and ensure that environmental violations, like littering and illegal dumping, are handled promptly.

Any fines received from littering and dumping should be put into a dedicated fund to be used to help address the issues of littering and illegal dumping. The money from this fund would be spent solely on littering and illegal dumping prevention activities and programs.